A great perk of my day job is that I’m allowed to work from home. However, once a month I have to go down to Los Angeles for a couple of days. In the past, I’ve stayed at a crappy airport hotel close to work. I finally got fed up with the Embassy Suites and wrangled myself an acceptable rate at the Hyatt Place LAX. My co-worker tells me when they first opened, weekday rates were around $110 per night while weekend rates were as low as $89. That’s pretty incredible, considering rates now hover around $200-$250 per night (before taxes). Thanks to my Hyatt Diamond status, I booked a My Elite rate of $180 per night with taxes included.
The Hyatt Place LAX is only a few years old and definitely the nicest hotel in the area. It has it’s faults, but it’s much better than anything you’ll find near the airport. I’ve stayed at the hotel twice so far: The first time was in a King Room and most recently in their Boardroom Suite, a name (and room description) that is a bit misleading. In any case, I thought I’d write a review comparing the two rooms and summing up my overall experience.
The hotel is close to LAX, but away from the major hotel clusters. That’s what I like about it. It’s a block from busy and loud Sepulveda Blvd, and aside from a 5-story corporate building across the street, it doesn’t have any other building surrounding it. Despite the fact that a tram runs right in front of the building on an elevated platform, it’s very quiet. On both occasions, I had a room directly facing the tram and was never disturbed by the sound.
The Hyatt Place LAX offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport. Simply call the front desk when you land and somebody will pick you up within 10-15 minutes. So far, I’ve never had an issue getting picked up on time. You will love the shuttle driver, Mike, who in my opinion is the best employee this hotel has. He’s always friendly and engaging and has a cooler of cold bottled water he offers passengers as they board. During my first trip, he told me the shuttle drivers frequently offer rides to places outside of the hotel and airport, as long as it’s in the area. So rather than bother a cab or Uber driver for a ride nearby, simply ask the shuttle driver.
Service at Hyatt Place is supposed to be a bit more casual, but some of the staff just seem poorly trained, often flustered, and lack basic customer service skills. What surprised me, though, was how far up the lack of professionalism goes.
During my first trip, I got in touch with their group sales manager about arranging a corporate discount for the company I work for. I had to leave her several messages before I finally got her on the phone. She asked me some questions and then informed me I’d hear back from her “by tomorrow.” Tomorrow came and went, then came again and I didn’t hear from her. I left her a message, even spoke to her assistant, and gave up when it became clear she would not be returning my call.
On several occasions, I found the front desk unmanned or the employees busily chatting rather than assisting guests. The staff also isn’t very good at handling the phone, leaving guests on hold for long periods of time or forgetting about them all together. This is something I’ve both witnessed and experienced. Keep your expectations reasonably low and you won’t be bothered by it.
During my first stay, I was in a corner King room. The room and the hotel as a whole reminded me of my college dorm – and I don’t mean this in a snarky way at all. My college dorm was actually very nice, built on a generous donation from George Lucas. The vibe in the lobby, the laissez faire attitude of the front desk agents, the furniture, and decor all contributed to a sense of nostalgia.
Anyway, the King room was comfortable and the space was used efficiently. There was a large desk with an ergonomic chair, a closet next to it that I didn’t use since I was there for two nights, and plenty of outlets throughout the room. I really liked that the desk and bed faced the windows, something I wish more hotels would do.
The bathroom lighting is quite bright and not the least bit flattering, but it does wake you up in the morning. I’m not picky about amenities, so I’m not the right person to judge whether they were “up to par” or not. It’s just (Kenet MD branded) shampoo/conditioner and soap.
The Boardroom Suite is essentially an apartment – perfect if you’re staying for several days or with a family. The only reason I booked it on my second stay was because I was offered a standby upgrade during booking. I opted in and when the suite became available at check-in, I received a discounted rate of just $30 more than the rate for a King Room.
The suite had a living room, kitchen, dining area, and separate bedroom. The website describes the Boardroom Suite as having a boardroom table, which is false unless you consider a kitchen table the equivalent of a boardroom table.
The kitchen came fully stocked and would be perfect for anyone looking to prepare their own meals (which is recommended). The lights wouldn’t turn on in the kitchen, but I never used it, so it didn’t matter. The one thing I found bothersome during my stay were the palm trees that were right outside the kitchen window. When the wind kicked up, they loudly scratched the window, which was pretty annoying.
The bedroom is separated by a door, making it feel a bit claustrophobic. I personally liked the open floor plan of the King Room better, but I imagine if you’re traveling with kids or several other people, this set up works better. The only disadvantage of the suite is that it doesn’t come furnished with a work desk. The Boardroom Suite also has a fairly large closet (by hotel standards) which, again, I didn’t need on this trip.
The bathroom is quite spacious and features the same super bright lighting as in the King bathroom. I did notice hand prints on the handle of the glass door leading to the bathroom, as well as hair on the bathroom floor. Most guests like to think they are the only ones who’ve stayed in a particular room – this definitely shattered that illusion.
If you’re traveling by yourself, you really don’t need the Boardroom Suite unless you’re planning a longer stay and want a kitchen to prepare your own meals. Families will also appreciate the extra space. For me, it was more space than I needed and I’ll probably just stick to the King Room, with it’s open floor plan and ergonomic work station.
Food isn’t a strong suit of the Hyatt Place LAX. During both stays, I tried the nachos and the pizza, which tasted like they came out of a box and/or freezer. You can order food either from your room or by walking up to the cafe. There are some salads, sandwiches, and bottled drinks you can pick up, but anything off the menu will take 15-20 minutes to prepare. The hostess will offer to call your room when it’s ready to be picked up. No room service here, which is good because you avoid the extra charges and long wait. The only thing the menu lacked was a pasta dish, which would be nice because pasta out of a box (which is what they would likely serve here) still tastes good.
All guests get complimentary breakfast, which is served buffet style and is quite extensive. Their signature breakfast sandwiches consist of eggs, cheese and bacon sandwiched between two biscuits. Sometimes they also offer a vegetarian version of the sandwich, but in my experience that wasn’t every morning.
The spread included waffles (which were generally overcooked), oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, bread, and pastries. There’s also a station with a variety of drinks. I don’t know where their orange juice comes from, but it’s literally the best I’ve had anywhere. The buffet was well-stocked and the food was frequently replenished.
Both mornings the breakfast area was pretty deserted around 8:30 AM. Either the guests at this hotel are early risers or they sleep in (like the residents of my college dorm). Either way, you won’t have to stand in a long line to get your breakfast. You can also order breakfast all day long for around $7.
Overall, this is a great place to stay near LAX. Sure, it has it’s shortcomings but that’s understandable for a relatively new hotel. Rates can be steep, but if you follow my tips on securing Hyatt’s MyElite rate available to Platinum and Diamond members, it’s actually very reasonable and in some cases lower than competing hotels.
Have you stayed at the Hyatt Place LAX before? What are your impressions of the hotel?
Subscribe via email for more points, miles and free travel